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Monday night’s Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals matchup was one of the most highly-anticipated NFL games of the season.

But halfway through the first quarter, football immediately became inconsequential, as events on the field took a tragic turn.

Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed and lost consciousness following a routine tackle on Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins.

As a horrified crowd looked on, medical staff performed CPR for nine minutes, and an ambulance arrived on the field to rush Hamlin to a nearby hospital.

Hamlin is currently sedated and his condition is listed as critical. (Photo via Instagram)

For most of this week, the situation looked rather grim.

Reports from the hospital indicated that Hamlin had not regained consciousness and was breathing with the help of an artificial respirator.

So it was with tremendous elation that the Bills announced a bit of astonishingly good news today:

Football fans continue to pray for Damar Hamlin. (Photo via Intagram)

Not only has Hamlin regained consciousness, he’s communicating in a way that indicates his neurological functions have recovered to a degree that exceeded doctors’ most optimistic predictions.

“It’s not only that the lights are on. We know that he’s home. It appears all the cylinders are firing within his brain,” Dr. Timothy Pritts said in a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

“The Bills training staff who was with him immediately recognized that this was not a run of the mill injury and that they had a significant event on their hands and immediately responded and got the emergency response team involved in his care,” Pritts continued.

Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills was left in critical condition after a shocking scene that played out on the field. (Photo via Buffalo Bills)

Pritts went on to confirm that this was the best possible outcome, given the circumstances.

“And really, this went as well as something like this could go under very challenging circumstances, and they did a fantastic job which is why we’re here today,” he told the press.

The medical staff responsible for Hamlin’s recovery also shared that the 24-year-old promptly wrote a message — he’s still not able to communicate verbally due to to breathing apparatus — asking who won Monday night’s game.

Damar Hamlin on the field during his first year in the NFL. (Photo via Instagram)

“You won. You’ve won the game of life,” one physician responded

Now, you could argue that the doctors were getting a little cute there, offering a trick answer to a guy who just emerged from a coma.

But after the work those men and women performed to restore Hamlin to health, we’ll forgive their attempt at humor/philosophical depth/whatever that was supposed to be.

Damar Hamlin has recovered from his shocking injury with remarkable speed. (Photo via Instagram)

(In truth, the game was suspended, and neither team won or lost. The NFL has not yet announced how it will approach problems of league standings and playoff seeding.)

No doubt the road to full recovery will be a long and difficult one for Damar.

But Hamlin has already made remarkable progress, and his loved ones, teammates, and fans have every reason to be optimistic.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Damar as he embarks on this journey.

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